Deal’s dead for race track

The deal to sell O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont is dead, and racing insiders said the opportunity to raise the local facility’s profile even higher might have died with it. Some within the racing community felt the suitor, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based investment group led by the developer of DirectTV, was going to roll out a new, aggressive marketing plan to bolster the image of the drag racing circuit and its facilities.

O’Reilly Raceway Park, a cornerstone facility for the NHRA for more than 40 years, figured to be a prime benefactor of that plan. The U.S. Nationals have been held here since 1961. HD Partners Acquisition Corp. Chairman and CEO Eddy Hartenstein in May said he thought paying $121 million for four NHRA tracks and the Powerade Drag Racing Series was a good value.

Sources close to the deal indicated Hartenstein could try to revive the deal when the economy strengthens. In the meantime, though, racing insiders wonder how much marketing muscle the NHRA has lost, and how that will affect the local track. The full story is here. What do you think?

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